Over the past week, President Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, openly advocated the death penalty for drug dealers, bragged about lying to Canada's prime minister, apparently forced the firing of a retiring deputy FBI director, and, most recently, hinted on Twitter that he might try to oust Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating him. Trump is "newly emboldened to say what he really feels and to ignore the cautions of those around him" because he "now believes he has settled into the job" of being president and trusts his instincts more than his advisers, Maggie Haberman reports at The New York Times, citing a dozen people close to Trump or his White House.
"Projecting strength, control, and power, whether as a New York developer or domineering reality television host, has always been vital to Mr. Trump," Haberman writes. "But in his first year in the White House, according to his friends, he found himself feeling tentative and anxious, intimidated by the role of president, a fact that he never openly admitted but that they could sense." No more.
Trump no longer feels the need to rely on the expertise of Chief of Staff John Kelly, outgoing chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, or Tillerson, and "if he once suspected they were smarter or better equipped to lead the country and protect his presidency, he doesn't believe that now," Haberman says. "Outside the White House, there are few friends the president will listen to." Kelly, Cohn, and departing White House Communications Director Hope Hicks were among the few people who could contain Trump and blunt his potentially self-destructive impulses, and some aides "say privately that Mr. Trump does not understand the job the way he believes he does, and that they fear he will become even less inclined to take advice." You can read more about the emboldened Trump at The New York Times.